I was a blank slate when I entered the St. James for a preview. My familiarity with Green Day began and ended with "Good Riddance," though I don't think I could have told you they actually sang it. Mike, though, knew most, if not all of their work, and I figured he could fill in the blanks for me if necessary. Turns out his help wasn't really needed; I could understand it completely.
I didn't completely hate it. There were songs/sequences I thought were terrific - "Holiday," "Extraordinary Girl" and "21 Guns" stood out. And it turns out I knew a few more songs, though before that night, I had no idea who sang them.
By and large, though, I didn't think much of it. It felt too precise for a show with nonconformity as a theme. It was trying too hard to sell real rock music as legit on Broadway. And save for a very few cast members, I thought most of the company was overacting, self-indulgent and distracting. Pretentious was the word of the day, ironic, given its overt disdain for anything even remotely "establishment." I was pretty harsh in my assessment, and I still feel bad about that, because Mike was euphoric about what he had just seen, and I know I brought him down. Again, I'm sorry for that, Mike.
|Sands, Gallagher and Esper
|Stark Sands and the Original
|One time, we even saw Billie Joe Armstrong!
Still, after listening to Mike talk about it and understanding more about what I'd seen, I thought I'd give it another shot. I trust Mike, and if he said I missed something, I knew I had to try again. And so we went. And I really loved it. Maybe it was because I knew what I was getting into, I could relax more and let it wash over me. Maybe it was because I listened to more Green Day music before we returned. One thing I know for sure. With more performances under their belts, the cast was much looser, and they weren't pushing so hard.
|Van Hughes (center) and the 1st National Tour Company
So the lesson is simple: keep your mind and heart open